In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  New Glenville State President recognizes challenges facing rural schools

The man tapped to take over as the leader of Glenville State College in July wears his optimistic nature openly, but that has not illusioned him to the challenges that come with his new gig as the twenty-fourth President in Glenville State’s history.

“This is going to be a challenging position just because of some of the economic issues,” Dr. Tracy Pellett, the current Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, Georgia, said in a phone interview Friday. “But I will tell you this–and I will say this pointedly–Glenville is not called the Pioneers for nothing. These are people that blaze a trail. They don’t follow the lead of others. They blaze their own trail.”

A former middle school teacher, Dr. Pellett said he has a number of goals set–and already knows the obstacles ahead of him–as he transitions into the role currently held by outgoing President Dr. Peter Barr.

“If you are living even 20 or 30 miles outside of Glenville and you are working a job and you’ve got three kids at home–unless you’ve got an option like an online option–you are not going to be able to come to school to better your family’s potential prosperity,” he said.

Broadband access has been a hot-button issue for several years in both the State Capitol and among West Virginia’s Congressional delegation. Pellett said, particularly for schools that serve highly rural communities, broadband access is a critical component to success moving forward.

“Broadband access will be critical to the economic development of that state,” he said. “There’s no question in my mind. Especially in the 21st century, it’s almost a prerequisite for greater growth and economic growth.”

There’s another form of access that Dr. Pellett considers vital for success at schools like Glenville State. He said communities that include large populations of students from families who have never attended college need not just increased access to higher learning, but a real plan for keeping costs low and fostering student success.

“You’re going to see me,” he said. “You’re going to see Glenville State out in these communities actively encouraging and creating pathways to getting students enrolled.”

West Virginia’s rate of students with undergraduate degrees and advanced degrees is among the lowest in the nation; only, approximately, one-in-five West Virginia students earn an undergraduate degree or higher. That hasn’t tempered Pellett’s enthusiasm, though.

“Glenville has got great days ahead of it,” he said. “They’ve got a phenomenal history that’s based on success, and I have no doubt that they’re going to have great successes ahead of them as well.”

“The people have got to be some of the most honest, hard-working, faith, family, community-based people I have ever met. That excites me.”

Dr. Pellett said his time at schools in Georgia and the state of Washington has given him a blueprint for bringing growth to Glenville State. One of his methods is simple: bring down student costs.

“Utilizing online resources–educational resources that are either free or at a significantly reduced rate–will cut the cost for college students,” he said. “Here [at College of Coastal Georgia] we’ve cut the cost minimally more than $600 per year.”

Still the exuberant public middle school teacher at heart, Dr. Pellett still fondly remembers his first years in education.

“If you can survive middle school, being a middle school teacher, and those changes that take place with kids at that age, I think you can probably survive anything educationally,” he said. “I loved it. That was one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had.”

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission must approve the hire at a special meeting.

Dr. Pellett replaces outgoing President, Dr. Peter Barr. He is retiring after 12 years at Glenville State College.

This will be Dr. Pellett’s first stint as the President of a college.

►  WVSSAC 2017 Class A High School Girls Basketball All-State Teams

The 2016-17 West Virginia high school girls basketball Class A all-state teams, as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

First team:

Riley Fitzwater, Gilmer County, Sr.
Brittney Justice, Summers County, Sr.
Whittney Justice, Summers County, Sr.
Colleena Burdock, Union, Sr.
Ashley Morris, Williamstown, Sr. (captain)
Kylie Shuff, Gilmer County, Sr.
Dena Jarrells, Huntington St. Joe, So.
Taylor Duplaga, Wheeling Central, Jr.

Second team:

Sydney Nestor, Tucker County, Jr. (captain)
Vida Imani, Charleston Catholic, Sr.
Jordyn Fox, St. Marys, Sr.
Paige Shy, Huntington St. Joe, So.
Kendall Malay, Fayetteville, Sr.
Cassie Tallman, Ritchie County, Jr.
Kelsi Chapman, Magnolia, Sr.
Alexis Saunders, Parkersburg Catholic, Sr.

Third team:
Sophie Palmer, Valley-Wetzel, Jr.
Terra Kuhn, Tucker County, Fr.
Sam Dedrick, Williamstown, Sr.
Makayla Smith, Calhoun County, Sr.
Eden Gainer, Wheeling Central, Fr.
Hannah Taylor, Summers County, Jr. (captain)
Stephanie Kirk, Ritchie County, Sr.
Tyesha Taylor, Huntington St. Joe, Sr.

Honorable mention:

Bailee Adkins, Huntington St. Joe

Maddie Blaydes, Charleston Catholic

Kendra Pannell, Sherman

Mariah Finley, Tolsia

Alexis Hall, Huntington St. Joe

Stormy Carver, Montcalm

Kaitlyn Gillespie, Mount View

Jordan Keener, Charleston Catholic

Dejah Busby, Sherman

Riley Bennington, Wheeling Central

Kelsie Meintel, Cameron

Taylor Martino, Notre Dame

Latasha Nichols, Tolsia

Brooke Miller, East Hardy

Jewel Purpura, Bishop Donahue

Rachel Baker, Valley-Wetzel

Caroline Fenton, Fayetteville

Taylor Ludewig, Magnolia

Aleah Black, Tyler Consolidated

Haley Barr, Clay-Battelle

Emma Baker, Moorefield

Kylie Saltis, South Harrison

Emily Saurborn, Trinity

Carly Somerville, Gilmer County

Jenna Nichols, St. Marys

Olivia Ullman, Parkersburg Catholic

Bethany Arnold, Williamstown

Ali Westernhaver, Ravenswood

Cori Hughes, Wirt County

Cam Smith, Doddridge County

Hannah Loy, Paden City

Abby Gwinn, Gilmer County

Kaylee Reinbeau, Wheeling Central

Courtney Walker, Cameron

Josie Purpura, Bishop Donahue

Josey Jones, Tyler Consolidated

Autumn Hill, Fayetteville

Tiffani Cline, Summers County

Sarah Ryder, Pocahontas County

Jenny Wilson, Midland Trail

Lauren Smith, Greater Beckley Christian

Reagan Sharp, Trinity

Abbey Ammons, Clay-Battelle

Jenna Montgomery, South Harrison

Clare Cistaro, Notre Dame

Elizabeth Nicholas, Tucker County

New Glenville State college Pres. needs updated about broadband.
We have been hearing about it for 20 years or more.

Canaan Valley Institute was to be the ‘savior’ for Gilmer county.  Well, how is that working for everyone?  High speed for every holler. Remember?

Manchin and Capito and Frontier were to all save the day too?  Hows that working for every too?

Millions spent, probably went to some corporate crony buddy bank account?  Sure hasn’t give us broadband has it?  Just more empty politicians promises.

Comment by political failure for 20 years  on  03.20.2017

If GSC’s new president hangs his hat on broadband the College’s chances for survival will continue to diminish.

His immediate challenge is enrollment increases. We have had enough of the steady stream of false assurances that GSC is bursting at its seams.

Ask teachers and admissions staffers. They know the truth. The expensive building program hasn’t worked and enrollment based on full time equivalents (FTEs) is down.

The harsh fact is that GSC isn’t bringing in enough money to guarantee its survival and the reason in inadequate enrollment.

The new president must reconfigure to establish new second-to-none programs for which there would be high student demand to increase enrollment.

If something innovative is not done soon by the new president, GSC’s risk for being shut down will increase.

The reason is that the State ran out of money for subsidizing higher education and we are in an era of survival of the fittest.

Comment by GSC's Concerned Employees  on  03.22.2017
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